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such as Catholic priests or Jehovah™s Witnesses, survivors do not recall bonds
that incorporated fellow inmates in a way similar to recollections of Soviet
survivors. And even in these cases the bonds connected and worked solely for
the members of the speci¬c group. In no case do they seem to have included
the majority of inmates.69
But Gulag is not the only Soviet example of new bonding. The majority of
the urban population lived in communal apartments (one family to a room,
neighbors not of one™s own choosing) or in dormitories and barracks. Com-
munal apartments were only rarely collectives of mutual support; more often,
they were rent by quarrels over shared facilities and meanness. But bonds and
mutual dependency did form within them; children often perceived neighbors
as family even if parents hated them. Perhaps the Soviet communal apartment
of the 1930s could be compared in its prickly closeness and dysfunctionality
to the repressive German bourgeois family often represented in literature and
memoirs. The workplace also seems to have functioned as a new or intensi¬ed
site of bonding in the Soviet case: not necessarily bonding associated with the
actual work performed, but with the multitude of other functions (distribution
of food and other goods, political meetings, cultural events, and so on) that the
workplace developed in the Stalin period.
Practices of exclusion strengthened communities of the stigmatized and stim-
ulated the formation of new ones. In the German case, persecution promoted
(among Jews but also, though very differently, among homosexuals, Roma
and Sinti, and Jehovah™s Witnesses) a sense of common fate but also a wari-
ness about the risks of public association with other outcasts. Those who had
thought of themselves primarily as Germans now had to think of themselves pri-
marily as Jews. In the Soviet case, those deprived of the right to vote (lishentsy)
were probably too big and disparate a category to become a single community,


¨
Lutz Niethammer et al., eds., Der “gesauberte” Antifaschismus: Die SED und die roten Kapos
69

von Buchenwald: Dokumente (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1994).
Energizing the Everyday 297

but the subgroup of byvshie (those from the former privileged classes) surely
recognized each other, as did those discriminated against for their connec-
tions with the clergy. Those “networks of enemies” that the Stalinist regime
so feared were not always purely imaginary: the regime™s own discriminatory
policies tended to create them.
In both countries, religion had a major impact in generating or reshaping
communities outside Volksgemeinschaft.70 In the Soviet Union, the state had
a determined atheistic commitment; all religious confessions were subject to
persecution (though the level went up and down), until the regime™s partial
reconciliation with the Orthodox Church during the war. The assault on the
Orthodox Church was particularly vicious in Russia during the Cultural Rev-
olution of the late 1920s and early 1930s, when priests were arrested en masse
(“dekulakized”), church bells were taken down, many churches were forcibly
closed, and rumors of apocalypse and the coming of Antichrist swept the coun-
tryside. The campaign against the Orthodox Church pushed many Orthodox
Christians into sects, which met secretly in people™s houses, usually without
priests, but during the Great Purges it was the turn of the sectarians to suffer
heavily. The Soviet authorities regarded sects “ not without reason “ as ipso
facto anti-Soviet communities.
In Germany, Nazi leaders and ideologists such as Heinrich Himmler and
¨
Alfred Rosenberg called for a religiosity (labeled Gottglaubigkeit) strictly dis-
connected from the Christian churches and operating against them. Parallel to
their efforts to exclude church from the public sphere, Nazi Party activists
strove to expand state (and party) regulation of elementary schools. Here,
however, actions for nonreligious schools met stubborn nonacceptance on the
part of many parents (until the state cracked down on them in 1937 and 1938).
In other arenas the forms and intensity of confrontation differed, as a result
of the different pro¬les of confessional activities. In the Protestant sphere a
considerable segment of pastors and parish members supported the formation
of the Nazi-leaning Deutsche Christen (DC), praising its claim for a rebirth
of the nation that would overcome the onslaught of “Jewish materialism.” In


On religion in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, see Edward E. Roslof, Red Priests: Renovation-
70

ism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905“1946 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
2002), and Daniel Peris, Storming the Heavens: The Soviet League of the Militant Godless
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). On religion and the everyday, see Sheila Fitz-
patrick, Stalin™s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 204“14. The everydayness of the metropolitan
case of Berlin is at the center of: Manfred Gailus, Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus:
Studien zur nationalsozialistischen Durchdringung des protestanischen Sozialmilieus in Berlin
(Cologne: Bohlau, 2001); on the “other side” of the confessional divide that had enormous bear-
ing in Germany until the late 1950s; cf. the case study Kevin P. Spicer, Resisting the Third Reich:
The Catholic Clergy in Hitler™s Berlin (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2004); on the
“German Christian Movement,” also in its everydayish aspects, see Doris L. Bergen, Twisted
Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1966).
¨
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke
298

Berlin, a quarter of all parishes quickly came under DC domination, while half
were split between DC adherents and dissenters.71
The Catholic Church showed a similar restraint with regard to persecution
of Jews. However, local priests were often outspoken in their criticism of the
“renewed heathendom” of the Nazis, notwithstanding threats by the Gestapo
and actual incarceration. In general, persecution of Catholic priests was
harsher “ since the church authorities tried to defend their sphere (especially
in schooling)72 much more persistently against Nazi interventions than their
Protestant counterparts. Concretely, this could mean a struggle for the cross
in the classroom. Nazi efforts to ban Catholic youth associations did not have
much effect until the late 1930s, when the government shut down the remaining
ones. Still, the priests who had presided over these associations could out¬‚ank
the prohibition by reorganizing these activities as parish based, enabling many
groups of young men and women to continue to meet and pursue their church-
related commitment. At least in the countryside they sometimes outmaneuvered
HJ and BDM. These efforts, however, remained limited to the issue of local
control, without impinging upon the “national” and “patriotic” sentiments
that were common to fervent Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) and
Nazi activists.
In the Soviet case, arguably, villages often became something like passive-
resistance communities, particularly in the ¬rst half of the 1930s, as a result
of the peasants™ passionate objections to collectivization “ something to which
there is no German analogue. Judging by the persistent rumors in the Russian
and Ukrainian countryside of imminent rescue by invading foreigners in the
prewar years, peasants seem to have been resentfully conscious of being outside
the real “Soviet” community of the urban and educated. While Soviet values
were not totally absent from the villages (being propagated mainly by the
teacher, or sometimes the kolkhoz chairman), acceptance of them by the young
was often tantamount to a decision to leave and ¬nd one™s fortune in the town.73
No real “peasants into Soviets” process is observable until the war “ and then
it was most noticeable among peasant men conscripted into military service.


conclusion: bonding “ and energizing
This comparative inspection of practices and relationships of the everyday
shows that people in both societies bonded and found themselves bound to
others in manifold ways. “Mass society” in general, and “totalitarian rule”
in particular, may have twisted, devalued, or even destroyed some social


Manfred Gailus, Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus, 637“66.
71

In 1937“8, however, the church was forced to succumb to Nazi pressure and accept the abolition
72

of confessional schooling, Franz Sonnenberger, “˜Der neue Kulturkampf”: Die Gemeinschaftss-
chule und ihre historischen Voraussetzungen,” in Bayern in der NS-Zeit, vol. 3, eds. Martin
Broszat et al. (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1981), 235“327, 306“24.
For elaboration of these points, see Fitzpatrick, Stalin™s Peasants.
73
Energizing the Everyday 299

relationships “ for example, those of kin, class, or milieu “ as Hannah Arendt
has argued. Concomitantly, though, in both societies people generated new
relationships and transformed old ones. The weight of tradition faded and the
younger generation was privileged over their elders. In both the Nazi and the
Stalinist case, the regimes were inspired by grand schemes of mobilization of
the “masses.” These required, or at least licensed, the remodeling of bonds. At
the same time, the drive for (self-)mobilization gave a stark emotional charge
to practices of inclusion and exclusion.
The exclusionary dynamics that adherents of the Nazi and the Soviet regimes
simultaneously stimulated and relied upon meant that stigmatized minorities
were forced to sever their bonds with Volksgemeinschaft, a very painful if
not deadly process that generated despair that oftentimes led to existential
loneliness among those excluded. As to Jewish Germans, however, bitterness
and anger of the excluded fostered activities to withstand the onslaught, in
particular among wives and mothers.74 For those within the realm of Volksge-
meinschaft and its Soviet equivalent, however, the process of exclusion relied
on but also enhanced an emotional charge that cemented bonds among the
excluders. Ousting “others,” as both German and Soviet experience repeatedly
showed, was an effective means of generating community.
Family bonds were not demonstrably weakened in either Nazi Germany or
the Soviet Union, though there is more room for argument on the Soviet side
because of antifamily rhetoric and the Pavlik Morozov exemplar. But Soviet
words and Soviet deeds on family were often contradictory; moreover, in the
face of repression and coping with a dif¬cult external environment, families
tended to draw together. Bonds outside the family showed little if any change
on the German side in peacetime. On the Soviet side, by contrast, the closing
down of independent associations had an obvious negative impact on some
kinds of sociability. The coming of war, however, de¬nitely strengthened and
energized extrafamilial social bonds, especially those of comradeship at the
front and also to a lesser extent in the rear. And since war was fundamental to
both regimes “ a raison d™ˆ tre on the Nazi side; a long-awaited and feared test
e
of regime legitimacy and national strength on the Soviet “ this particular effect
should probably be regarded as systemic rather than purely contingent.
The Arendtian notion of atomization turns out to be least satisfactory to
the historian in its assumption that new bonds and new types of bonds can-
not be generated in “totalitarian” societies. Clearly such new types of bonds
were generated: those associated with the new Soviet workplace and blat are
good examples. Of long-term as well as immediate signi¬cance was the shared
consciousness that developed among young activists in both Germany and the
Soviet Union of belonging to a special cohort destined, along with the nation,
for greatness. New bonds of particular poignancy were forged in the course
of military service during the war. In addition, the practices of both regimes

Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Women in the Aftermath of November
74

1938 (New York: Leo Baeck Institute, 1996).
¨
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Alf Ludtke
300

unintentionally generated resistance communities or networks (a new kind of
bond), especially among religious believers.
This brings us back to the major de¬ciency of totalitarianism as a model
for historical analysis: the assumption that totalitarianism is a state to which
there is an entry but no exit, that (as Friedrich and Brzezinski argued in the
social-science version of totalitarianism) the model is self-perpetuating and self-
reinforcing, that (uniquely among human societies) there was no possibility of
internally generated change or development other than an ever-closer approach
to the ideal type. Perhaps this notion was easier to accept with regard to Nazi
Germany, often seen as possessing a dynamic of radicalization that inevitably
ends in self-destruction (though, assuming German victory in World War II
was not an impossibility, can we really regard that self-destruction “ and the
accompanying loss of a developmental future “ as inevitable?). In the Soviet
case, it turned out that there was an exit from totalitarianism (post 1953), in
other words, that the historian™s assumption that things will always change and
decay (the historian™s equivalent of the physicist™s principle of entropy) need
not be suspended in this case. Indeed, we can go beyond the entropy principle
to reaf¬rm the historian™s truism that things are always “growing new” as well
as growing old, for it turns out that the most interesting question concerning
social bonds in these two societies is not about their erosion but rather about
the forms of their regeneration.
In this context, it may be helpful to return to the issue of energizing the every-
day that we have alluded to at various points in this essay. Both contemporary
rhetoric and later recollections of both societies stress the importance of the
stimulation of intense emotions and energetic action that occurred under these
regimes. Activists (many of them young) embraced the regimes™ projects and
put in all their energies behind them. To cooperate actively and, thus, to pro-
pel the great cause: these dynamics of energizing oneself and others provided
strong emotional charges reverberating in people™s everyday.
The drive to participate had many faces and operated on more than one
level. In both societies, people in all segments and groups were caught up in the
excitement of active involvement in a process of fundamental transformation
of things both large and small.75 Thus, efforts to improve or boost production
in agriculture or industry cannot be detached from the desires of individuals or
groups for social promotion or economic bonuses, for example. The same can
be shown for professional groups and for women, whether at home or (increas-
ingly in both societies) on the job. In the Soviet Union, this energizing process
was clearly manifest during the industrialization drive and Cultural Revolution
at the beginning of the 1930s, while in the German case such dynamics shaped


In Germany electrical power was rather successfully advertised as energizer for women to speed
75

up housework and connect it with wage work, esp. in 1934“5 (Elektroangriff ), see Hartmut
Berghoff, “Methoden der Verbrauchslenkung im Nationalsozialismus,” in Wirtschaftskontrolle
und Recht in der nationalsozialistischen Diktatur, ed. Dieter Gosewinkel (Frankfurt am Main:
Klostermann, 2005), 281“316, 306“9.
Energizing the Everyday 301

activities ranging from economy and rearmament to sports, ¬lm, and fashion
throughout the prewar Nazi period. In both the Soviet Union and Nazi Ger-
many, it became paramount during the war. Even mounting shocks of violence “
on the Soviet side during the recuperation of the torched land by the Red Army
in 1944; on the German side by the Red Army™s ¬nal offensive in late Jan-
uary 1945 as well as by ubiquitous allied bombings in the following weeks “
invigorated the potential of self-energizing rather than exhausting it. To be
sure, it is the everyday of those actively included in Volksgemeinschaft “ the
“participants in socialist construction,” to use the Soviet term “ that is illu-
minated by the energizing paradigm. Those who were excluded and suffered
social death found themselves literally “switched off.”
8

The New Man in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany

Peter Fritzsche and Jochen Hellbeck




This essay explores anthropological ideals and practices in Stalinist Russia and
Nazi Germany. Both regimes shared a fundamental commitment to producing a
higher human type, and they both sponsored ambitious initiatives to transform,
remake, and perfect their populations. But the ideologies that underwrote the
“New Man” differed substantially. Whereas the Soviet system conceived of

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